Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Local News

May 2, 2013

Fresh off victory

NRA holds convention in Houston

Athens — AUSTIN — The National Rifle Association has spent much of the past year under siege, ardently defending gun rights following mass shootings in Colorado and Connecticut and fighting back against mounting pressure for stricter laws in Washington and state capitols across the country.

Now, after winning a major victory over President Barack Obama with the defeat of a gun control bill in the U.S. Senate, the powerful gun-rights lobby will gather in Houston this weekend for its annual convention.

Organizers anticipate a rollicking, Texas-sized party — one that celebrates the group's recent victory while stressing the fight against gun control is far from over.

"If you are an NRA member, you deserve to be proud," Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's brash, no-compromises chief executive wrote to the organization's 5 million members last week, telling them they "exemplify everything that's good and right about America."

The NRA couldn't have picked a friendlier place to refresh the troops. More than 70,000 people are expected to attend the three-day "Stand and Fight"-themed event, which includes a gun trade show, political rally and strategy meeting.

Texas, with its frontier image and fierce sense of independence, is one of the strongest gun-rights states in the country. More than 500,000 people are licensed to carry concealed handguns, including Gov. Rick Perry, who once bragged about shooting a coyote on a morning jog.

Concealed handguns are allowed the state Capitol, where simply showing a license allows armed visitors to bypass metal detectors.

Friday's big event is a political forum with speeches from several state and national conservative leaders, including Perry, former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, former Pennsylvania senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum and Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican Texas firebrand who has become one of the top tea party voices in Washington since being elected last year. LaPierre speaks to the convention on Saturday before the "Stand and Fight" rally at night.

NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam predicted the convention will draw the largest crowd in its history.

"The geography is helpful," Arulanandam said. "The current (political) climate helps."

For NRA member Mike Cox, a concealed handgun license instructor from rural Wimberley, the recent Senate vote showed not only the power of the NRA, but demonstrated to its members the need to dig in and recruit more members.

"There's a lot of enthusiasm right now," Cox said. "This isn't over by any means."

Gun control advocates say they will have a presence around the NRA convention, with plans for a vigil for victims of gun violence, a petition drive to support background checks and a Saturday demonstration outside the George R. Brown Convention Center.

Sandy Phillips, whose daughter Jessica Ghawi, was killed in the Colorado theater shooting in July 2012, met privately with Cruz in San Antonio this week. Phillips said Cruz refused to budge on expanding background checks and told her he considered it the first step toward government confiscation of guns.

"They're always good at saying the right thing, 'I'm so sorry for you loss and da da da da da,'" Phillips said. "If you're really sorry for my loss, do something about it."

In an interview Thursday with The Associated Press, Cruz called efforts by Obama and gun control advocates to push for expanded background checks an attempt to "undermine the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms."

Despite polls that show most Americans favor some expansion of background checks, Ladd Everitt, spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, said a big challenge facing gun control advocates is matching the NRA's grassroots organizing, or as he called it "closing the passion gap."

"The NRA knows this issue is very much in play. People were sickened by that Senate vote," Everitt said.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • (Left to right back row) Elizabeth Coats, Bailey Ficco, Emma Shepherd, (front row) Mary Ficco, Emma Routh.jpg Girls from LaRue shave their heads to make a difference

    The statistics are alarming. More children are lost to cancer in the United States than any other disease. Before they turn 20, about one in 285 children in the U.S. will have cancer. Worldwide, a child is diagnosed every three seconds.
    Four girls from LaRue have taken a stand against these numbers, and have shaved for the brave.
    Bailey Ficco, Mary Ficco, Elizabeth Coats and Emma Shepherd headed to Boston on Saturday, July 27 for an event to help raise money for cancer research. 

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Tracks lead to alleged thieves of TVEC property

    According to Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt, it was at 12:12 a.m., July 30, that the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office received a call of an alarm at the newly-constructed Trinity Valley Electric Substation located off Farm-to-Market 2329 near Eustace.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Alzheimer’s forum to teach about disease

    The fact is over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's. The Alzheimer's Association says “every 67 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's. The disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.”
    Alzheimer's is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly, and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. 

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Give-and-take session to discuss problem of underage drinking

    The East Texas Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse’s Henderson County Coalition Partnership invites local citizens to take part, Monday, in a give-and-take session on the problem of underage drinking.
    The meeting will be held at the Cain Center in the Cain Room, begins at 5:30 p.m. and is expected to last about an hour. Local officials have been scheduled to take part in discussing the problems regarding alcohol. It’s a concern that affects all parts of the county.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif July proves cooler in 2014

    July is gone, and the weather is leaving a much more favorable impression than its usual swelter.
    The National Weather Service reports the cool front that came through the area on the last day of July, brought more showers to the area, and held the highs in the low 80s. The weekend forecast calls for temperatures to remain several degrees below normal through Sunday.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif AMWA to meet Wednesday

    An Athens Municipal Water Authority project that was moved off the front burner when its dispute with the City of Athens heated up is scheduled for discussion when AMWA meets Wednesday.
    The AMWA board of directors is scheduled to meet at 8 a.m. in the Athens City Council chambers, located in the City Hall Annex on Pinkerton Street. On the agenda is to discuss and act upon proceeding with long-range plans to create AMWA offices and meeting facilities.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif A look at the practicalities of AISD’s 2015 campus realignment

    Athens ISD board members’ approval of the proposed campus realignment comes one full year in advance of the decision’s effective date. The timing gives the public as well as district staff and administration opportunity to adjust and prepare for the change.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 8-1 Athens Rotary.JPG Hirsch speaks at Athens Rotary Thursday

    Henderson County Extension Agent Rick Hirsch spoke at the Athens Rotary Club weekly meeting on Thursday. Hirsch said unlike 2013, this year is a great year to grow anything. He also commented it was a good year to be in the cow business. Welcoming Hirsch to the Rotary Club are Rotary President Kelly Driskell and Rotarian John Trent.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0005.JPG Hydrating first responders

    First responders were invited Wednesday to the Athens Brookshire’s grocery to celebrate a promotion formulated by the store.  When customers purchase five 32-ounce bottles of Gatorade, they will receive 200 points. Customers are encouraged to donate the Gatorade to first responders. The promotion will last one month. Shown, from left, are Brookshire’s Store Manager Charles Beasley, Athens Police Department Patrolman Wesley Hoover, APD Cpl. Billy Westover, APD Assistant Chief Rodney Williams, APD Lt. Jeremy Hugghins, APD Patrolman Taylor Chancellor, APD Sgt. Eddie Smith, APD Chief Buddy Hill, Athens Fire Department Firefighter Brian Davis, AFD Firefighter Aaron Munn and AFD Firefighter Payton Lambe.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif HC fine-tuning application to get CETZ funds

    It’s been three months since Henderson County got word that money has been allocated from the Texas Department of Transportation in the form of a County Energy Transportation Zone grant, but Commissioners Court is still fine-tuning its application to get the funds.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
Twitter Updates